Should children live in the world or avoid it?

My previous post was “Should we focus on evil or good while training children?”.

In discussing whether children should be exposed to evil to train them, two other objections came up:

One is that children need to live in the world rather than avoid it. And so they should be exposed to evil and taught how to appropriately handle it.

Still another common argument is that Jesus was in the world and did not avoid it, but ministered to those in the world, and so should our children.

Let us address each of these points in turn.

Should children live in the world and not avoid it? Does this give us the right expose children to evil so as to prepare them?

Please realize that I am not saying we are to not address evil as it manifests itself in our lives. If children are exposed in the course of life to an alcoholic, they should be taught what God’s word says about it. If the children are exposed to a liar, then they should be taught what God’s word says about it. But this does not mean children should be exposed to various evils, just because they exist in the world and taught not to do it. Instead, children should be taught how to act, how to behave, what to think, what to say, using what scripture teaches.

But instead of exposing children to evil to teach them not to do it, wouldn’t it be more effective to expose them to God and godliness? Would it not be better to infuse children with godly things, rather than expose them to what God says to avoid? I think the answer to both questions is yes.

As for the argument that Jesus was in world and didn’t avoid it and ministered to those in the world, I feel it necessary to remind those who would use this argument that Jesus was about 30 years old when he entered ministry. He had been taught from birth what God says to do and not do. He knew scripture. He was prepared. Are your children as well versed in what God says as Jesus was at 12, let alone at 30? If not, then I suggest that perhaps that is an empty argument. If your children ARE so well versed in scripture, then please teach me how to raise my children so they are as well versed in scripture as Jesus was.

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